Manchester United have confirmed that centre-back Raphael Varane could be missing for around a month due to his latest injury.
Man Utd signed Varane from Real Madrid in the summer with the idea of making him the first-choice partner to Harry Maguire at centre-back. However, it has been a slow start to his Red Devils career so far.
The Frenchman has started six Premier League games for his new club so far. But a groin injury kept him out of action for a couple of weeks in October.
Now, he is set to face a slightly longer spell on the sidelines in November. Man Utd have released a statement confirming the extent of the injury he suffered during their draw with Atalanta on Tuesday.
Varane had to be taken off after 38 minutes of the Champions League match, which ended as a 2-2 draw.
It has now been confirmed that a hamstring injury was to blame. The club predict he will be out of action for around a month.
Varane will therefore definitely miss the Manchester derby against Man City on Saturday. He would also be at risk for games against Watford, Villarreal, Chelsea and Arsenal after the international break.
The news comes at a bad time for United, who have seen Maguire lose some form recently. He will need to step back up to his best levels to lead the backline while Varane is absent.
Deputising alongside him could be Victor Lindelof or Eric Bailly, although the latter is without a Premier League appearance this season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to find a way to navigate without Varane until he returns.
His absence may also limit Solskjaer’s ability to deploy a back three, which he used to good effect against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend. The Norwegian tactician repeated the idea against Atalanta but had to reshuffle when Varane went off.
Maguire form explained amid Varane absence
As mentioned, centre-back partner Maguire has come in for some criticism recently after encountering his own injury issues recently.
talkSPORT pundit Jason Cundy recently opined that the club captain looks overweight and not at full fitness.
Cundy said: “He doesn’t look fit, he looks like he’s carrying about a stone over weight. He can’t run, he can’t move, he can’t shift his weight, he can’t turn.
“He looks like he’s got divers’ boots on.”
A report from the Telegraph, though, has provided some form of explanation.
They reveal that Maguire was rushed back from his injury around 10 days ahead of schedule. The decision did not go down well with Bailly, who was disappointed to be overlooked for someone not at full fitness.
It is believed that Maguire should have rested for a couple more matches. But when Varane was sidelined with his previous injury, Solskjaer did not want to be without both at the same time.
Now, the manager will have to work out how best to manage Maguire’s workload while he is without his main defensive partner again.